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In Greece it is known since antiquity and is first mentioned by Theophrastus and Dioscorides. The scientific name Siderites comes from the Greek word “σίδηρος” (sidiros) meaning iron and was given to the plant because of its ability to heal the wounds caused by iron objects.

According to others it was named Siderites because it is a natural source of iron, as drinks made of the plant contain iron. A third view holds that the name is due to the shape of the teeth of the plants calyx that resemble spearheads.